Through a new community process, the Eclipse Foundation seeks an open source, lightweight, code-first approach to evolving enterprise Java. The specification process and future revisions have to approved by the Eclipse board of directors.
If approved, a draft of the Eclipse Foundation Specification Process would be used for Jakarta EE, Eclipse’s implementation of enterprise Java as a new “open” specification process. The proposal would replace the Java Community Process (JCP), which has been used for amending the predecessor Java EE (Enterprise Edition) platform.
The Eclipse specification committee’s approach centers on these points:
- Designing a process that would be as lightweight as possible.
- Have the specification process be as close to open source development as possible.
- Creation of a process that allows code-first development and enabling a culture where experimentation can happen in open source, with specifications based on those experiences.
- Reusing the Eclipse Development Process when possible.
- Taking care of intellectual property flows and protecting the community’s work from bad actors. With this in mind, specification committee approval is required for releases from specification projects in addition to normal project management committee approval. Also being introduced is the notion of “participants,” who are committers representing specific member companies. This is needed to ensure that intellectual property contributions, particularly patents, are properly captured by the process.
This month’s bad patches made headlines. Lots of headlines. For good reason.
You have my sympathy if you clicked “Check for updates” and got all of the files in your Documents and Photos folders deleted. Even if you didn’t become a “seeker” (didn’t manually check for updates) your month may have been filled with blue screens, odd chicken-and-egg errors, and destroyed audio drivers — and Edge and your UWP (“Metro” Store) apps might have been kicked off the internet.
You didn’t need to lift a finger.
Worst Windows 10 rollout ever
Hard to believe that Windows 10 version rollouts could get any worse, but this month hit the bottom of a nearly bottomless barrel. Some folks who clicked “Check for updates” wound up with a brand spanking new copy of Win10 version 1809 — and all of the files in their \Documents, \Pictures, \Music, \Videos and other folders disappeared. I have a series of articles on that topic, arranged chronologically:
Word to the Win10 wise: Don’t click ‘Check for updates’ — Microsoft has unilaterally given itself permission to upgrade your Win10 PC to the brand-new version 1809, if you have the temerity to click “Check for updates.”
How to block the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, version 1809, from installing — the best ways to ensure you install 1809 when you’re ready, even in the face of recent forced updates from Microsoft.
Did you upgrade to Win10 1809 and lose all of your documents and pictures? — If, in spite of my warnings, you upgraded to the latest version of Win10, and you lost all of your \Documents, \Pictures, \Music, \Videos or other folders, DON’T DO ANYTHING until you’ve tried this fix.
Microsoft yanks buggy Win10 1809 upgrade, leaving zapped files in its wake — It took four days of complaints about deleted Documents, Photos and other files and late Friday, Microsoft finally pulled the Win10 1809 upgrade. Microsoft has known about the bug for months.
Now that we’re in October’s “C Week” — the week containing the third Tuesday of the month — version 1809 is back in beta testing, there are new patches for those who want to continue with 1809, Microsoft hasn’t come up with a fix for the deleted files, and a whole lot of people are in a whole lot of hurt.
Rule #1: Don’t trust Microsoft.
Rule #2: Don’t click “Check for updates.” In Microsoft-speak, “check for updates” means “install most (but not necessarily all) available updates.”
Rule #3: Refer to Rule #1.
Windows 7 Monthly Rollup patching sequence logic still screwed up
Microsoft vowed that it would fix the bizarre error where the patch installer isn’t smart enough to update itself prior to installing new patches. The primary symptom is an Error 0x8000FFF when installing the Monthly Rollup.
The Servicing Stack Update sequencing problem is so bad, it looks like Microsoft stopped pushing the Monthly Rollup at the end of “B Week.”
We’ve had many conflicting reports about the Monthly Rollup itself, KB 4462923, appearing in the Windows Update list checked (and thus pushed through Windows Update), unchecked and, in some cases, missing entirely. WSUS has been spinning. Patch Lady Susan Bradley puts it succinctly:
Metadata and patch dependency is totally screwed up on Windows 7 platform and because of that the October security updates detection are screwed up.
Bad driver #1 — HP keyboards
I still see reports that Microsoft pushed a buggy update to Win10 version 1809 that caused the WDF_VIOLATION blue screens that brought some systems to their knees. That’s not true. The blue screens are triggered by a bad HP keyboard driver, version 22.214.171.124, which was distributed via Windows Update to Win10 version 1803 and 1809 machines. The buggy driver causes blue screens on the latest builds of 1803 and 1809, although it’s unclear whether the driver triggers BSODs on earlier builds.
Microsoft released a “silver bullet” update that deletes the driver if it’s sitting in your PC’s queue waiting for reboot — which doesn’t do a whole lot of good, especially if you’re stuck in a BSOD loop.
Bad driver #2 — Intel audio
As if the pushed buggy HP keyboard driver weren’t enough, Microsoft also pushed a second bad driver. Some folks running Win10 1709, 1803 or 1809 with Automatic Update turned on discovered that after installing this month’s updates, the sound stopped working, with the message “No Audio Output Device Is Installed.”
Fer heaven’s sake. Why let Windows Update push its buggy drivers onto your machine? There’s a fairly straightforward procedure for telling Windows to stop pushing drivers along with its other dicey updates. At least, the steps are straightforward for those who own Win10 Pro or Education. Home users get to futz with a Registry setting.
Edge can’t find the internet
Speaking of weird Win10 version 1809 behavior… if you’re trying to run Edge (I know, I know) in Win10 version 1809, you may not be able to connect to the internet. UWP (“Metro” Store) apps might not be able to connect, either. This happens even if you have a working internet connection.
The problem? You need to turn on IPv6. Lawrence Abrams on Bleepingcomputer has a step-by-step solution.
Some day this will all go away. The latest version of the dominant Chrome browser doesn’t have that IPv6 problem, and with newfound, fledgling support for Progressive Web Apps, we’re likely looking at the beginning of the end of UWP apps. I, for one, won’t miss them.
JET database patch doesn’t work
Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative found a bug in the Jet Database Engine — an ancient (early ‘90s) bug-ridden database precursor to today’s SQL Server. Microsoft didn’t fix it in the ZDI-allotted 120-day fix window, so they published full details. On Day 154, this month’s Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released a fix for what is now known as CVE-2018-8423.
Except Microsoft’s CVE-2018-8423 fix doesn’t fix the whole problem. You can read the gory details on Mitja Kolsek’s 0patch Team blog.
0patch is in the business of providing short-term “micropatches” for bugs that Microsoft doesn’t fix. They initially published a micropatch when Microsoft missed the ZDI deadline. Now they’ve issued a re-patch for the still-unfixed CVE-2018-8423 bug.
I rarely recommend third-party fixes for Microsoft bugs because of the potential for problems. But when Microsoft can’t fix its own bugs, well, it gives me pause.
The bottom line
The past four months have shown, repeatedly, that you’d have to be crazy — or ignorant of the past — to continue applying Windows patches as soon as they’re released. July patching was an unmitigated disaster. After some initial missteps, August fared substantially better. September saw a bunch of “v2” patches that got yanked suddenly, but it all worked out in the end — if you waited long enough. Now October is back to the same-old same-old.
If you’re in charge of protecting state secrets, the pressure’s on to get the patches installed come hell or high water. But for most folks, there’s precious little reason to subject your machine to patching problems right away. That said, Susan Bradley’s Master PatchList remains relatively calm, if you take into consideration the problems explored in this article.
As best I can tell, the biggest threat at this point lies in a resurgence in Equation Editor exploits. That particular Office bug was fixed (and re-fixed) almost a year ago. Yes, you have to install security patches sooner or later.
This month is the first month with an “E Week” — there are five Tuesdays in October. It’ll be the first “E Week” since Microsoft adopted the “A Week” / “B Week” bafflegab. With five Tuesdays now open to official attack, we may be entering a new stage of enlightenment.
Patching problems? Join us on the AskWoody Lounge.
In 2016, a drone came within 200 feet of a plane that was approaching LAX. Disaster was avoided, but what if a collision had occurred? Kevin Poormon with the University of Dayton Research Institute’s impact physics division set out to find out. The answer he arrived at isn’t a very…
Some say discretion is the better part of valor, which means the discreet yet useful Apple Watch Series 4 may be the bravest thing of all.
Apple’s brave little watch
What is the nature of a wristwatch?
For most of us, it’s something we wear and look at when we need the time. A smartwatch adds an indefinable number of additional features, and at their best, these don’t get in our way and are there only when we need them to be.
That’s certainly the message when it comes to one of the flagship features of the watch, Siri.
The Siri watch face is smart enough to learn what you need and provide it for you, while remaining discreet enough not to get in your way. In one glance, you can find out how active you are, check your heart rate, review your day ahead and more. You can use the watch to listen to podcasts and music, to se third-party apps, and more.
This isn’t a feature guide – I have one of those here – but it is a review of how the watch makes those tools available: discretely.
The function of the device is becoming more focused as Apple and its customers learn what they need it to do. Iteration by iteration, Apple Watch expands its available capabilities.
Watch 0 was an interesting attempt at being everything, Apple Watch Series 4 is a focused attempt at being a helpful little device that helps you get things done, but only when you need it. It’s an advisor, assistant, coach, protector, communicator, credit card, airline ticket, and a map. It also tells the time.
Think about it, and it’s clear that when you use one of these things, you are already inside an augmented reality. You are a technologically augmented human.
All of this is discrete. Mostly through a glance. A tap. A word.
When you compare all the iterations of the Apple smartwatch, the new model is a little thinner and seems more precision-tooled than previous iterations.
You really feel the extra display space (I tested the 44mm model, but have been using the largest versions since Apple Watch 0.) Text is easier to read, and the display is much more responsive than before.
You’ll also find haptic feedback is more pronounced. I find that really useful, particularly when I’m using Apple Watch to follow Maps directions: I used to miss taps when doing this before if I wasn’t paying attention.
That’s not to say everything is good.
When news of the new circular watch face broke, I know many people (some of them women) who told me they might be interested in buying one of these things if it came in a round, rather than a lozenge, design.
I fear they will be waiting for that for a while, but now Apple has figured out how to give Apple Watch a circular face and continues to invest in new manufacturing processes, it must surely only be a matter of time before it gathers round.
One thing I’m not sure about is the side button: This is more flush on the Apple Watch than before. A partially sighted friend of mine pointed out that this makes it a little harder to find — while I think finger memory gets better over time, I do fumble for the button a little when using it in the dark.
Making calls using the eSIM inside the watch has also improved. Not only does the connection seem more stable, but you can hear what’s being said much better thanks to the louder speakers in the device.
I’ve also found the microphone to be a little more sensitive, which means I can make a call while walking in a much more relaxed fashion — I don’t need to look like Dick Tracy with my arm in front of my face while chatting to my buddy.
I’ve had so much joy relying on only the watch to listen to music and podcasts. It’s astonishing to think that so many of the features that made the iPod (and first iPhone) so addictive are now available on my wrist — and with an Apple Music subscription, I’m carrying way more than just 1,000 songs.
Features and performance
While the first iteration Apple Watch supported apps, frequent lag when using them degenerated the user experience. Apple has put a new 64-bit processor and new sensors inside the model. This means apps open faster and perform better than they did before.
Has the new processor and larger screen impacted battery life?
Not at all. In fact, I find my watch battery life goes much further than it did before.
I’m in the U.K., so I’ve been unable to test some of the flagship features of the new Apple Watch (no ECG for me) but have really enjoyed its capacity to identify the Workouts I do (outdoor walking, yoga, weights) and to also figure out when I stop exercising.
This was less fun when I shared this information with a friend, as I then discovered how deeply committed to avoiding workouts I actually was. They deserve congratulation for their perfect record of three challenge victories. It drove me to comfort eating.
Siri Shortcuts are going to be something. I already have shortcuts to call certain people, send messages and share locations, but these will become more useful in future — particularly if you have a lot of HomeKit equipment around your home.
I do think Apple needs to provide some way in which users and third-party developers can easily create, share and use their own Apple Watch faces.
I can’t really see a good reason not to permit this, even if (as seems obvious) there must be some kind of limitation around the energy required to display a particular face and/or run multiple Complications.
A third-party Apple Watch face store would be a much bigger branding and revenue generation opportunity than iMessage stickers, at least in my opinion.
What about apps?
It’s interesting to reflect on how the apps Apple has developed itself for the device provide such a good guide to how app developers should approach design for Apple Watch.
Simple, integration, cut-down user interfaces:
The very best Apple Watch apps are the ones you can open, understand, and use in just one touch and at a single-second glance. Apple Watch is not designed to devour time, but to help you manage your own time better.
There are some exceptions to this — translation and mapping apps, for example, or messaging/email packages. But as a general guide, if an app isn’t simple and intuitive or doesn’t provide information you’ll likely need in the here and now, it shouldn’t be on the watch.
Jonny’s buying advice
If you’ve got a few hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket, use an iPhone, and like the look of the new Apple Watch, then I think you’ll enjoy it — so long as you understand that it very quickly becomes something you don’t pay much attention to.
That’s not a criticism — in fact, it means the device does what it should do. You will glance at it umpteen times a day, you will use it for a growing range of tasks, it will become more and more useful, but you won’t spend anything like as much time engaging with it as you do your iPhone.
That’s what it’s designed for. It has been developed with the intention that your interactions with it will be frequent, but fast — and everything is faster on this model.
That improved processor means that if you already use an older model Apple Watch (pre-Series 3), then it makes sense to upgrade because app interactions are much more fluid. I’m not sure I would choose to upgrade from a Series 3 on those grounds, though the geek inside me wouldn’t be disappointed if I did.
Apple’s ambitious smartwatch is deeply discreet. And that’s its attraction.
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It’s going much too far to say that flagship Android smartphones have all become the same, but the differences between their hardware have become pretty narrow. Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, OLED screen, Gorilla Glass — if you were buying strictly off a spec sheet, it’s become fairly difficult to make a mistake if you’re picking from among the top four or five phones or vendors.
As nice as Google’s Pixel 3 and 3XL are, though, you’d be hard pressed to make the case for them as ideal machines for the enterprise.
Oh, they’re pretty enough — glass-encased, with big OLED screens. And they’re certainly capable, with top-end components (great screen, responsive feel, and long-lasting battery) and AI features that enhance an already excellent camera. Definitely crave-worthy and worth showing off to your colleagues, who’ll be envious until the next shiny thing comes along.
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